A sex crime is a crime involving any form of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, unlawful sexual behavior, or illegal pornography. Examples of what is considered a sex crime in Virginia include: abduction for immoral purposes, sexual battery, statutory rape (sex with person under the age of consent), incest, solicitation of a minor, possession of child porn, and internet solicitation of a minor.

If a person is convicted of sex crime in Virginia, he or she must register as a sex offender. If another state convicted the offender for a crime that requires registration in Virginia, the offender must register in Virginia within three days of entering the state if he or she establishes a residence in, becomes employed in, or attends school in Virginia.

How Does Sex Offender Registration Work in Virginia?

Not all sex crimes require registration with the online registry. Most of the crimes that require registration in Virginia are violent sex crimes or were sex crimes committed against a minor. Sex offenders who have been convicted and who have committed a crime that requires registration, must register within three days on release from custody or within three days once a sentence is imposed.

Registration requires the offender to notify the state police and confirm his or her current physical and mailing addresses. The offender will also be required to provide other identifying information such as driver license number and fingerprints. Additionally, in Virginia, offenders that are required to register must submit to being photographed by local law enforcement every two years.

All sex offenders required to register must continue to re-register every year until the duty to register is terminated by court order. However, anyone convicted of a sexually violent offense or a murder involving sexual abuse, must continue to re-register for life.

Can I Be Taken Off the Registry?

If you were convicted of a sexual offense outside the state of Virginia, you can petition the court for a court order to be relieved from registering after three years. If convicted in the state of Virginia, you can petition for relief after five years. At that point, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether or not the petition should be granted. Prior to the hearing, the court will order a comprehensive psychological assessment of the offender, which the court will use in order to make its decision on whether or not to remove the offender from the registry.

Additionally, depending on whether or not you meet the necessary criteria, you may be able to seal your criminal records, otherwise known as expungement. Eligibility for expungement varies from state to state, but if you only committed a minor sex crime that did not involve violence, such as indecent exposure, years ago, you might be able to get that record expunged. That prevents everyone, other than law enforcement, from seeing your past criminal history.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If you have been charged with a crime it is important that you seek legal assistance immediately. An experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney will be able to defend you in court and will work hard to get you a not guilty verdict. If you have already been convicted and have served your time for a minor sex crime and no longer wish to be listed as a sex offender, you should try to see if you are eligible to petition for removal from the registry. Additionally, you should go to an expungement lawyer to start the process of sealing your criminal record.